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ECRI Seminar: The national Specialised Bodies’ role in advising legislative and executive authorities and other stakeholders

May 26th 2016

The ECRI Annual Report was launched on the day of the Seminar of the Council of Europe’s Anti-Racism Commission (ECRI) for national independent authorities combating racism and intolerance. Meeting in Strasbourg on 26-27 May, the focus is on “The national Specialised Bodies’ role in advising legislative and executive authorities and other stakeholders”.

Topic

National Specialised Bodies have the potential to achieve policy change. This potential is realised in providing advice to legislative and executive authorities, as well as to business and trade unions. National Specialised Bodies have also the potential to enhance the wider institutional infrastructure promoting equality and combating discrimination. This potential is realised through engaging with and advising NGOs working on issues of non-discrimination and equality. However, this work of providing advice to different stakeholders faces barriers, such as lack of resources or limited stakeholder interest, incomplete mandate of the national specialised body or pressures to allocate limited resources to responding to individual cases.

Main aims and objectives

The seminar aims to identify barriers to the national Specialised Bodies’ advisory role, to establish how to address them and to find the support needed for this work, as well as to establish how these bodies can maximise the impact of this work.

This event will examine the functions of national Specialised Bodies in:

  1. advising legislative and executive authorities in seeking policy and legislative change;
  2. advising businesses and trade unions in seeking practice change;
  3. advising NGOs in stimulating and supporting a wider infrastructure to promote equality and non-discrimination.

With a view to provide an opportunity for national Specialised Bodies to:

  • share and reflect on their work of providing advice to legislative and executive authorities and to other stakeholders, including the private sector;
  • learn from the experience of others to develop further and expand this advisory function;
  • identify the support needed, to better specify and improve further their advisory work and enhance its impact.
Els Keytsman, Co-Director of Unia (Interfederal Centre for Equal Opportunities), Belgium, presents their work on achieving change in institutional practice.
Els Keytsman, Co-Director of Unia (Interfederal Centre for Equal Opportunities), Belgium, presents their work on achieving change in institutional practice.

Participants

Representatives of member States’ independent authorities (equality bodies) expressly entrusted with the fight against racism, xenophobia, antisemitism, intolerance and discrimination on grounds such as ethnic origin, colour, citizenship, religion and language (racial discrimination); members of ECRI; representatives of national Ombudspersons and national human rights institutions; as well as members of national parliaments, representatives of local authorities, European and international intergovernmental organisations, NGOs and networks.

Anne Gaspard, Equinet Executive Director, with Michèle Akip, Executive Secretary to ECRI
Anne Gaspard, Equinet Executive Director, with Michèle Akip, Executive Secretary to ECRI

For further information (including the programme and the background note), please check the ECRI website